Just in time for spring and summer vacation, the N.C. State Parks system has some new pass options for families, who are looking to save.
The system has had annual passes for parking at the state's three reservoirs, Jordan, Falls and Kerr lakes, and the four wheel drive access at Fort Fisher.
The new passes will benefit families who live close to or plan visits during the year to some of the state's other parks where swimming is offered or where they might use boat launches or rent boats, Charlie Peek, the system's public information officer, tells me.
These include Lake Norman near Charlotte and Lake James in western North Carolina, where public swimming is only possible at the state park sites. Until now, families would pay $17 for a parent and three children to swim at Lake Norman on each trip. Now, an annual pass is $60, which would pay for itself in just under four visits during the year.
Peek said families who visit Cliffs of the Neuse State Park in Wayne County and Hammocks Beach State Park on the coast also could enjoy some savings with an annual pass, depending on how often they visit. Same goes for families who are planning a camping trip at a place such as Stanly County's Morrow Mountain State Park, which has a swimming pool.
The state parks' annual and family pass program page has the details. If you're planning a visit to parks across the state, it might be worth a look. The family pass program gives access to up to four people per day for swim and ferry passes, according to the system's website.